The Oitavos: A family affair of comfort and simplicity
Text: Bernd Thurner
The five-star design hotel The Oitavos on the Portuguese Riviera close to Lisbon is a bold design statement. The sparkling steel and glass construction seeks to embrace the beautiful natural surroundings of sand dunes and the ocean rather than compete with it.
Our philosophy is that comfort and simplicity are the new luxury”, says Miguel M. Champalimaud.
He is the son of Miguel Champalimaud, the creator of the spectacular five-star design hotel The Oitavos and its general manager.
Overlooking the protected sand dunes, the Atlantic Ocean and its surrounding beaches it sits at the westernmost point of the Portuguese coastline. A mere 25 minutes from Lisbon and close to the fishing village of Cascais the Quinta da Marinha estate is part of the Sintra National Park, a UNESCO World heritage site.
The estate has been owned by the family since the 1920s and carefully developed ever since – always taking great care to preserve the natural environment. These days the estate offers one of the largest equestrian centres in Portugal, a health and sports club and the Oitavos Dunes golf course, ranked among the Top 100 Courses in the World. It’s also the first golf course in Europe to receive the Audubon International’s Gold Signature Sanctuary status for its environmental management.
The luxury hotel is the latest step in the development of the estate and its architecture a strong design statement. The building is a sparkling steel and glass construction that Miguel M. Champalimaud describes as “bold, sophisticated and tasteful.” Designed by renowned Portuguese architect José Amaral Anahory the hotel seeks to embrace the beautiful natural surrounding rather than compete with it. And nature obviously plays the leading role everywhere you look. Whether it’s the glistening blue ocean, the sand dunes dotted with beaming yellow wild flowers and lush green pine trees or the densely forested mountains of Sintra that form the backdrop of The Oitavos.
The hotel has floor-to-ceiling windows, every room has its private balcony and either a view of the sunrise or the sunset. The interior is minimalistic and elegant with white painted steel, white furniture and walls in calming, soft marine blue. Paintings by contemporary Portuguese artists give each of the spacious rooms, all of them at least 64 m2, a different artistic touch. “We want our guests to feel at home, comfortable and pampered”, explains Miguel.
To feel even more pampered guests can head over to the Spa & Wellness area. Here the floor-to-ceiling windows offer views of the unspoiled landscape and an abundance of natural light. A vast balneotherapy area complete with a sea-water-swimming pool, sauna, Turkish bath and a Jacuzzi leave little to be desired. Early birds should not miss the sunrise meditation, if you want to sleep in sunset yoga might be a fine way to end the day.
Throughout the day culinary delights await the guests. Presenting a uniquely modern interpretation on Portuguese and International cuisine The Oitavos offers four restaurants. The mastermind behind all of them is French born Chef Cyril Devilliers, who has worked in some of the most prestigious kitchens in the world. The Ipsylon Restaurant & Bar is influenced by the Atlantic Coast and surprises with a thoughtful combination of traditional Portuguese and French cuisine. The Japanese Bar is known in the region for its fine selection of sushi and sashimi prepared right in front of the guests. Terraço Bar is an open-air poolside restaurant with light meals and tasty tapas. Verbasco at the Clubhouse of the Oitavos Dunes golf course with amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean concentrates on regional and world cuisine.
Coming back from a day of cycling along the coastline or exploring the renowned beaches and surf spots, the Sintra National Park or the picturesque villages close by one can be sure to find comfort and simplicity at The Oitavos. And one will have to agree with the philosophy of the Champalimaud family. This is pure luxury indeed.